Friday, March 2, 2007
Although I have written three memo’s representing TLC on this issue between this and last year, I am writing today representing only myself, and mainly out of pure frustration. If you have been dealing with important personal or extenuating circumstances that have prevented responding to my last two messages, then I extend my best wishes for an upturn and look forward to an eventual reply to my those memos.
As a member of the original Main Street Entrance Steering committee I opposed many features of this entrance. The basis for my opposition, shared with other pedestrian/cycling advocates, was that the plan brought traffic onto the main campus and into conflict with cyclists and pedestrians unnecessarily. We lost the main arguments, being outnumbered by others that voted in favour of the basic plan. However, we won a number of concessions. Some of those concessions included physical structures, such as raised crosswalks, while others involved the operation of the Kiosk that was to ensure that only visitors to campus whom wished to pay and then park in lot 3 would be allowed to proceed through that entrance (buses, emergency vehicles etc. were to be exempted from this restriction). As time has gone by these “soft” or non-physical concessions have eroded away. TLC’s concerns have been expressed and the only response that we have received from you, dated January 15, 2007 (responding to questions that were initiated by my TLC memo to Dr. George dated June 6, 2006), did not address the concerns at all, deftly deflecting the campus traffic issue to an unrelated topic that was easy for you to rationalise, but was not the concern of our memo.
The past two storm events forced me temporarily to change my cycling route to campus, bringing me in through the main street entrance instead of across Cootes Drive. I have been frustrated to watch cars pass the kiosk in the open lane to the right and drive straight through to lot 3, despite assurances that a) non-visitors would not be allowed access to parking lot 3 through the main street entrance and b) folks would not be permitted to drive onto campus to drop passengers off. This was an issue that we had already identified during meetings of the steering committee. We were assured that this problem would be circumvented. It would appear that there is no intention to follow through on this promise, or that it is failing.
In addition to concerns over the operation of the Main street entrance there have been other changes to the roads on campus. There have been crosswalks and stop signs put in place. I do not know whether this has normalised driving through parts of campus that are designated only for pedestrians, buses, and service vehicles, but I am seeing more and more traffic that appears to be students and other folks driving through from the south west parts of campus (including from the Main street entrance) through campus to Sterling street or the parking lots near the Sterling street entrance. Many of those cars, especially after dark, seem to be travelling at high rates of speed as if they think this is now an open thoroughfare. While I recognise that this was not the intention of the changes, and it may not even be related to these changes, more drivers seem to be ignoring the small signs designating non-traffic areas and traveling on campus past the front of Life Sciences and Divinity college. This increased danger might be reduced by more prominent signage and increased efforts to enforce.
I am frustrated and would like to see some positive changes that favour pedestrians,cyclists and safety over unsustainable transportation and danger!
Dr. James S. Quinn, Professor, Biology Department
McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1